Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune, new council members sworn in Tuesday

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach Mayor-Elect Brenda Bethune and three new city council members were officially sworn in at 1 p.m. today ahead of the city’s regular council meeting.

Newly-elected councilmembers Gregg Smith, Jackie Vereen and Mike Lowder were sworn in before Bethune.

“It’s hard not to be excited on this day,” said Mayor Bethune. The day she won the election still feels surreal to her she said. “Just to hear that announced and for people to be calling me or referring to me as mayor elect and to see my name on the agenda today as Mayor Bethune, it hits home I’m excited about it and it’s a great challenge and honor and I am ready for it,” said Bethune.

An emotional swearing in for Bethune, too. “I have my mom here and she is 96 and it really is emotional for me that she can be here to witness this.”

Bethune also sat alongside two brand new councilmembers Smith and Vereen. “It is my honor to call this meeting to order, said Bethune as she opened up her very first council meeting.

Vereen ran this year for her third time, she said third time’s a charm. “Of course the citizens have spoken and they want a change and I think is our opportunity to give people change, speak with our citizens and our business community. I think it’s our life blood here in myrtle beach and it always has been,” said Vereen.

“I think my experience on Community Appearance Board will help me benefit on council as we go forward the next four years,” added Vereen.

One topic during the council meeting on a lot of people’s minds is hiring 70 new Myrtle Beach Police Officers. Smith said, “One of the first things were doing is working on the police pay plan just to make sure our police get a competitive wage and we can attract the right members we need.”

Bethune agrees it’s an important topic to discuss. “I believe wholeheartedly in the police plan I think Chief Prock have done an amazing job preparing that and I don’t think we can afford not to do it. Our public safety has to be number one issue. We need to look at our own budget and look at the state,” said Bethune.

Smith said he is happy with the way council has welcomed the new members. “The members going out have been very helpful and helping us to hit the ground running,” said Smith.

“To all of you thank you for being here, thank you for the trust you have placed in me I promise to be honest, I promise to be fair and I promise to always listen to you and I just thank you.” Bethune added, “To my council members, together we are going to do wonderful things for the City of Myrtle Beach that we all love and care about, thank you, thank you very much.”

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